Do you want some real talk about agency growth and team structuring?
It's painful and messy.
Over the past couple of years I've implemented more team structuring changes than I can count. I've tried every project management software out there.
Every time we implemented massive changes, chaos would spread out through the ranks as everyone struggled to get used to the new system with changing roles, titles and sometimes even clients they are managing.
Every time I thought I had built the perfect model (as it was working well) but ultimately they never scaled as we grew and things would always break.
The truth is, there's been a lot of mistakes - but they were all worth it to get to where we are now.
We've been using our new model for over 10 months now, we've been able to scale it successfully, we haven't had a single day of chaos in months and EVERY single one of our clients are getting great results because of it and enjoying the journey.
I guess the age old saying is true, huh:
A lot of these mistakes were made as we were simply scaling up too quickly and needed bodies to keep up with demand and fill seats. Our hiring & training also wasn't up to scratch which resulted in a lot of confused team members who were thrown into the deep end. I also hadn't fully proven and conceived our centralisation thesis and so roles within teams were blurry and not defined.
Ultimately we learnt and have now proven time and time again, the job of PPC & CRO is never finished - it's a continuous and never ending process of iteration and optimisation which consistently raises conversion rates and wins in the long run.
We also learnt that a team should be made up of both right brain and left brain (creative & logical) members to ensure every inch of optimisation is reached. We took this learning and looked at all the functions the team needs to do and then separated them into what people naturally drift towards:
Logic & Numbers: PPC, Metrics & Analysis, Strategy Development.
Creative: Landing Page Design, Ad Creative Design, Video Editing
We also learnt that an account manager should be point of contact with the client and should know everything that is happening within their account. Through dozens of surveys and experiments we also identified that the number one thing clients care about is numbers.
COLD, HARD NUMBERS THAT SHOW REVENUE GENERATED AND PROFIT - EVERYTHING ELSE IS SECONDARY
Over the years, the number one thing that has separated us from other agencies is our diligence in looking into the numbers and what they reflect instead of selling pipe dreams. Naturally it then made sense that the account manager should also be the PPC specialist and metric observer as they see the full funnel in its entirety and can report on the numbers that the client cares about.
Another major learning point has been that landing pages cannot and should not be designed by a different person than the one who is designing and creating the ads themselves. This comes down to simplification of asset management (what images/videos etc we have and are in the process of making which can be used across all verticals), coherency of branding and also to keep up with the demand for new creatives to be iterated on weekly. We previously assumed this was not a full time gig as it only needed to be done once - now we create content weekly and designers are only assigned to 6 client accounts so they don't cut corners.
Ultimately another major lesson has been identifying the need for good communication, a sense of playing a game and relationship building within a team. We previously were sending dozens of messages a day, going back and forth way too many times and confusing ourselves and the clients.
It's been a hell of a ride but we've done it - our POD model has been in affect for months now. We've scaled up successfully, completely eradicated confusion & chaos and delivered some amazing results for ALL of our clients.
Here's the structure in a nutshell:
This model might seem oversimplified but if there's one thing I've learnt it's K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid.
The final issue we needed to tackle and solve was how we could scale this model and create new PODs over time. This ultimately boiled down to figuring out how we could ensure we are hiring the absolute best people for the job and then easing them into our POD model over time. We do our best to find the best talent possible but regardless anyone new still needs training on how to take their knowledge and apply it within CentraFlow and understand the inner workings of Centrasyte. Our centralisation thesis is unlike any other out there and so most new recruits find it extremely fascinating and have to learn how to apply it from scratch.
So enough talk Courtne, how are you doing it and what is Supercell?
Essentially, I've made the decision to always be involved in client work (so I never lose touch) and so supercell is the name I've chosen for my POD. My POD operates a bit differently than all the others in the sense that it has less clients but 4 members. I operate as the Senior Account Manager along with the most senior CRO Designer. Working with us is our 2 most recent recruits as Junior Account Manager and Junior CRO Designer. The juniors are on 3 months probation and from the time they start, they undergo training, They then slowly start taking on more responsibility from the seniors over time - essentially it's a mentorship period where they are free to make mistakes as the Seniors will be able to ensure the clients still get results. At the end of the 3 months, the seniors decide if the juniors are good enough to get full placement in our team or not.
You can bluff your way through an interview but not through a 3 month trial period.
If we decide that they are, then they go off and start their own POD. During this time period our sales force would have been signing clients in preparation for this.
This means only the best of the best get to work in PODs at Centrasyte and it unlocks growth for us as we always have a new POD in reserve ready to go.
One of the biggest things I wanted to also instil with this model is our culture.
We love competition, we love winning and the process of getting results for our clients is the game we all choose to play and be the best at.
Supercell is the name of the company behind some of the biggest games out there including Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and more. These games have gone on to create billions of dollars in value and they are loved and played by millions of players around the world.
As children, most of us grew up playing them and there's one thing that stands out in all of their titles - COMPETITION and leaderboards.
I thought the name would be a cool way to capture this imagination and make working here fun.
It's worked and I've never been more proud of the PODs that have come out of it.
Onwards and upwards!